Tips for Healthy Eating at Parties

Summer barbeques and parties with family and friends are fun, but can make it tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While it’s important to enjoy food and indulge on occasion, there’s no need to let a party steer you away from achieving your health goals. With these tips, you can leave parties without feeling bloated, tired and guilty!

  1. Eat a balanced snack before you go to a holiday party, that way you won’t be ravenous and will be less likely to overindulge.
  2. Bring your own dish! This gives you the chance to experiment with a new recipe, impress your friends and increase the amount of healthy options available.
  3. Stay hydrated. Most of the time we think we’re hungry, but we’re actually thirsty! Jazz up sparkling water with a drop of fruit juice or a lemon wedge. If you drink alcohol, keep in mind the recommendation of 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Or at least be sure to drink a glass of water after an alcoholic drink to stay full and hydrated.
  4. Enjoy yourself and mingle! Wandering away from the potluck or buffet table helps to lessen temptation.
  5. Focus on protein and veggies. And enjoy other foods in moderation.
  6. Eat mindfully. This means eating slowly, taking the time to fully enjoy your meals.
  7. Don’t deprive yourself. You can still enjoy your favorite foods, but eat a small portion of something you really want and savor every bite. Never guilt-trip yourself — everyone makes mistakes!
  8. Use a smaller plate. By serving yourself less on a smaller salad-size plate, you are less likely to overeat. Your brain will have time to catch up to your stomach — it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the message that you are full!
  9. Find social support. Find a friend or family member who is also trying to eat healthy and help each other stay on track.
  10. Stay active. After a big meal, help your friends or family clean up or take a walk. It’s good to keep moving! Don’t be hard on yourself if you haven’t been consistent with exercising — just start again! It’s never too late to take care of yourself.
  11. Above all, enjoy! Take time for yourself if you can, and enjoy the company of friends and family!

By Vanessa Berenstein, MS, Bastyr University 2014-15 dietetic intern,


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